“Mrs. Robertson, I just want to let you know that Mary has a note in her folder today. She had to sit in time out for spitting on a classmate, and she needs to work on how she speaks to her teachers and her friends. We’ll work on this here, but we are hoping you can address it at home as well.”
Yes, this is what greeted me as I picked up my youngest from preschool yesterday. Remember my post from a few days ago about how Mary is changing, growing, reaching? Well, this is part in parcel of what we are dealing with now. The three year old who is comfortable as her role of youngest … baby … adored one, and relishes it. She loves us all and can be exceptionally sweet, but with that is a streak of independence wider and longer than the Mississippi River.
She has a huge personality, able to leap tall buildings in a single bound wearing her princess costume, run roughshod over her older brother and make him cry as she chases him down with the pretend baseball bat, put on the Spiderman costume and shoot imaginary webs at the cat, play Temple Run better than most kids four times her age (I do not exaggerate here). With this ginormous personality comes beautiful smiles, witticisms that most three year olds can’t understand, much less think of and speak about in context, and sweet and lovely words and gestures. In fact, just the other day she cornered me in the kitchen after I’d had a particularly hot and stressful two hours with the younger kids that I coach. I was pouring my glass of white wine with a shaky hand, not even changed out of my stinky swim shirt yet, when she reached up with a big smile and said, “Mommy, I want to hold you because you are home now.” I’m not kidding, her squeeze hug made everything better. Shifted my axis that was teetering on the edge back to solid ground again.
And then yesterday happened and I was knocked off my center of gravity again.
I guess this is how it is, how it will continue to be, juggling the good, the bad and the just plain ugly of her personality, honing and polishing the lovely parts of her so that we see that more than the bad. Hopefully, by the time she is an adult, she will be an amazing person, both inside and out. In the meantime, she’s been restricted from all things handheld and electronic until Saturday, so no MineCraft, no iPhone, no iPad, no iPod. No Temple Run, no YouTube “Gummy Bear” videos. I could take them away for longer, but she’s only three, and she will soon forget why she’s being punished. It is enough to make a big deal about it for a day and a half, I think.
Abby and I took her to school early today, I figured all her older sisters (and dad, of course) are going to be in on this reformation since they are with her almost as much as I am. We sat with her as she apologized the the adults. We kissed her and told her we love her and sent her to class. As I drove Abby to school, we discussed the importance of setting a good example. Mary sees everything, and she’s smart enough to understand what she’s seeing. If we practice kindness with one another, that is what she will see. If we practice saying our snarkiest comebacks … well, guess what?